29 April 2022

West Ham preview: possibly the best outcome we could have hoped for...

What appears to be our toughest remaining fixture may have just gotten ever so slightly less tough. West Ham went into their semi-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt eager and optimistic only to see the wheels come off inside the very first minute,  scoring from a swift counterattack that saw just about everyone in a Hammers kit seem like they were running in quicksand—and there would still be 89 minutes to play. The hosts did find an equaliser quickly, but a second Frankfurt goal early in the second half meant that the Hammers would have to expend maximum effort for the full 90 plus stoppage time. It's a good thing that Moyes managed his subsitutions well by—oh. I'm told he made only one substitution. Hm. This would suggest—and bear with me here, we're through the looking-glass—that key players logged heavy minutes and covered a lot of ground to chase that first European trophy since 1965. 

27 April 2022

Come on, you Hammers (well, on Thursday, at least...)

Emile celebrates his goal to make it 2-0 back in December.
We're all Hammers fans, at least until tuck-in time on Thursday, as we await our trip to London Stadium on Sunday. Of course, on Thursday, West Ham host Eintracht Frankfurt in what is amounting to a must-win for both sides. I hope it doesn't come across as cynical—or, failing that, excessively cynical—to suggest that all of us from the right side of London will be throwing the full weight and energy of our support behind our Prem League brethren from that side of London, if only because a Hammers victory on Thursday renders our Sunday clash all the less meaningful for them. All the better for us.

25 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #34: Who needs an NLD anyway?

What a week it's been. Arsenal have apparently decided to troll Topspur by losing the matches we were expected to win and then winning the matches we were expected to lose.  It's a bit of the ol' Muhammad Ali rope-a-dope, and now they're the ones on the ropes. Either side of us, things are starting to crystallise, with Chelsea finally solidifying their grasp of third whilst Man U and West Ham finally fading away. It may be just a tad too early to write Man U off, but they gave it their best effort this weekend and came up well-short. With just five matches left to play among those still in play, then, the margins for error narrow all the more. Let's take a closer look at what that means.

22 April 2022

Yeah, so what if Saka connived his way to that pen?

In the waning moments of a treacherous trip to Stamford Bridge to face the Champions League cup-holders, a trip fraught with difficulty, despair, and dejection for a youthful side shorn of some of its most-important players, for a side that had flost its last three matches, something funny happened. No, I'm not referring to the fact that Arsenal won. On any other day, that would be the headline. It's not often that Arsenal go to Chelsea and win (I'm being told that this is the second consecutive instance of Arsenal doing just that). No, the funny thing is that a Premier League ref—no less than Jon Moss—saw fit to award Arsenal a penalty. 

18 April 2022

Rivals' Roundup #33: Hot potato, hot potato...

Well, I'll say this. It's a damned good thing that Brighton host Man U and West Ham between now and the end of the season, given how they've anointed themselves kingmakers or at least European comptetion, um, qualifier-cancellors... Truth be told, I don't know the UCL/UEL equivalent of "kingmaker". Suffice it to say that Brighton went from villain to ally within the span of just one week, all while we ourselves contented ourselves with playing Yakety Sax while roller-skating across a marble floor strewn with, well, marbles. The long and short of is that it seems like no squad really wants a fourth-place finish, and who could blame them? On current form, no squad would advance past the group stage of whichever competition it qualifies for next season. Let's grit our teeth, then, and get through this. It'll be fun, like a root canal or a colonoscopy.